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This is about Outlook’s cover story on Virat Kohli (Catching Up With God, Apr 4). Kohli deserves all the praise for ensuring a place for Team India in the knockout rounds of the just-concluded T20 World Cup. He has rescued the team from precarious positions many times in the past and he relishes challenging opportunities. To say that Kohli has determination to succeed and improve at all times is to state the obvious. What brings him close to Sachin is performing under pressure. Having said that, it’s unfair to compare him with an acknowledged legend. Yet one can safely say that if anyone in India has the calibre of touching Sachin sometime in the future, it is Kohli.
Bal Govind, Noida
There you go! A few good performances and suddenly a player is billed as the ’greatest ever’. It’s amusing to see that when it comes to cricket our emotions fluctuate like the Bombay Stock Exchange. Only last year, the media, social media and ‘experts’ on TV blamed Kohli for a run of poor scores. The media even held the poor actress connected with Kohli as a reason for his form. The same men are now writing odes. It only shows how funny we get when it comes to cricket.
Pradeep Mathur, Delhi
It’s unfair to compare Kohli with Sachin right away. Yes, if someone has it in him to reach Sachin’s level, it is Kohli, but he should not be subjected to such pressure and allowed to enjoy his game to the fullest. That’s how he will realise his potential.
J. Akshay, Bangalore
There are few players whose very presence on the pitch inspires such confidence in the dressing room and the stands. Kohli has been fairly consistent over the years and his aggressive temperament is extremely useful for the game. The man has shown that he has the determination, talent and thirst for him to succeed and be at the helm as the next master blaster.
Vinod C. Dixit, Ahmedabad
Kohli has shown he is mentally sound and it’s clear he hasn’t let captaincy affect his batting. However, we must consider the following points. Show me one bowler in world cricket whom batsmen would dread facing. There is no Warne, Murali, McGrath, Kumble. Aussies in the 1990s were world-beaters in that they’d exploit even the minutest chinks in one’s batting. We don’t have a similar team. The opposition Kohli faces is piffling by comparison. Again, Kohli has had a good run. But when the going gets tough—injuries, lack of form etc—a player will be truly tested. How long a player lasts depends on how he handles those tough times. Sachin handled them really well. Just remember the phase when he cut down on his favourite strokes. So, it’s a bit premature to compare the two right now.
What master blaster? Tendulkar was an accumulator. Viv Richards was the true master blaster—always a delight to watch. Brian Lara could also be put in that bracket. One is always misusing those words.
Hilary Pais, Bangalore
After Kohli’s match-winning effort against Australia, I have no doubt he’s better than Sachin. The latter was just a master grafter of runs. Why, has he a record for the fastest 50, 100, maximum number of sixes or even a triple century in Tests? Indians boast that he has the most number of World Cup tons—six. But four of them came against Kenya, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Sir Viv Richards is the only batsman who is a master blaster.
Ashish Singh, Bhopal
It was a treat and privilege to have watched Sachin. Comparing Kohli and Sachin not by age but by career stats tells an accurate picture. Kohli has made 10,206 runs (Tests and ODIs combined) until now, which are 24,141 runs behind Sachin’s 34,347. Given Kohli retires at same age as Sachin (ie, 40), he needs to make 1,857 runs a year in the remaining 13 years. More so, there is a drift of 64 centuries, which in itself is daunting. Kohli would need the best of fitness, temperament and appetite to eclipse Sachin.
Sanjiv Gupta, Perth
Those who disapprove comparisons because everything is different across generations are right. Virat is a player of immense possibilities, but one shouldn’t draw these conclusions at this stage of his career and compare him with someone acknowledged by all as a modern great.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
Kohli has been playing well consistently and is emerging as the most exciting batsman of our times, but comparing him with Sachin is unrealistic, as it involves a gap of a generation. Moreover, by indulging in comparisions, we ignore the individual talent and strengths each cricketer happens to be blessed with.
Charvi Kathuria, Delhi
Is Kohli better than Sachin? No. Let’s compare. Firstly, T20 internationals are out of scope, as Sachin played only one. The format evolved at the end of his career and it’s unfair to compare stats with Virat at his peak. Still, Sachin won an IPL title with Mumbai Indians and was player of the tournament at 35! Just imagine how good he would’ve been in the ’90s. Again, at age 27, Sachin had won won 36 MoMs, 34 of them in winning causes. Virat has 22 MoMs. Most importantly, Sachin was far better than Virat in Tests and performed in all countries and on all surfaces. He never ever looked as helpless as Virat did on English surfaces in 2011. Sachin’s greatest asset was his longevity and consistency for 24 years. Virat will fall at least five years short. Having said that, there is no doubt Virat is the best among the current lot.
Roobas Oliyath, On e-mail
Where Kanhaiya Kumar is compared to Modi, any cricketer can be compared to Tendulkar.
Akash Verma, Chennai
Recently the home ministry sent a bill of Rs 6.35 crore to the Punjab government for forces deployment during the anti-terror ops in Pathankot, whereas no bill was sent to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for services rendered by the army during the world cultural festival held on the banks of Yamuna. Ridiculous. But of course, Bharat mata ki jai.
I write this in reference to A Tricolour Twist in the ‘Apolitical’ Script (April 4), your story on Anupam Kher. The Saaransh protagonist has made unabashed sycophancy of the party in power the saaransh (essence) of his life.
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
The problem with actors is that they are never quite sure when they are dissembling. And with an actor of his calibre, some scepticism is only natural. His mockery of the opposition, accusing them of seeking revenge for their May 2014 drubbing, had all the hallmarks of Bollywood rhetoric—short on logic but high on catchy hysteria—and played ¬unabashedly to the gallery (in this case, on Twitter). The organisers who invited him for the debate ‘Tolerance is the new intolerance’ must have got their money’s worth. Anupam Kher is certainly doing a very good job of his new part as the ¬hyper-nationalist Modi-admirer.
K.S. Jayatheertha, Bangalore
When artists speak out, it is more often not in defence of freedom of speech and other such liberal causes. So, when one of them mouths jingoist stuff, someone or the other would surely raise a question about the political ambition driving him.
So what if Anupam Kher has political ambitions? At least he is open about what he believes in, unlike Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan who disguised their dislike of Modi with silly quotes on ‘intolerance’. Equally silly was the question the JNU student quoted in the story posed to Kher (‘If Gandhi is the father of the nation, please tell us the name of one woman you think is important enough to be made Bharat mata?’).
Krishna N, Hyderabad
Interesting how only Anupam Kher’s motives are analysed threadbare. Outlook didn’t go probing the motives of Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan. Kher is targeted bec¬ause he doesn’t toe the liberal line.
Akash Verma, ChennaiApropos your interview with Anupam Kher ‘Don’t ask me these questions to make me feel defensive about what I’m feeling’ (April 4). Wasn’t it a sign of intellectual laziness to not talk about the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits? What does justice mean to the victims of terrorists and who has the power to deliver it?
Kiran K, Pune
The Japan Diary by Deepak Sapra (April 4) was nostalgic for me, for I have done two stints in that amazing country and travelled across it. There’s so much one can write about Japan—its people, cities, culture, gardens, temples. I wish to point out that Sapra was a tad uncharitable to Nair’s, the Kerala eatery in the upmarket Ginza area of Tokyo. Space is at premium here and the restaurant, with six-seven tables and some 20 chairs, can hardly hope to compete with larger establishments. What needs to be appreciated is that for more than five decades it has served Indian meals and survived. I wonder if anyone has explored the history connection of Nair’s by asking the current owner if he’d heard stories of the association of his grandfather—A.M. Nair, who founded the restaurant—with Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
Prabhakar Jadhav, BANGALORE
Having returned from Jhansi a few days back, I would be grateful if you could pass on my observation to Sunil Khilnani about the Rani of Jhansi (Feb 29). While it is a popular story, it cannot be a fact that the rani jumped over a 15-metre battlement on her horse. She was a queen trained in equestrian art, and she was certainly not a fool. But it is exactly the kind of myth people who have no clue about horses and horsemanship would believe. All it does is make the legendary warrior look suicidal and naive. We can go on behaving the 15 metre-jump myth. But 150 years of soil erosion and rain have pushed down the slope adjoining the fort wall to five metres. In her day, it could not have been much more than that. Even so, it is likely that she had the kicking horse whipped to lower itself over the wall with help, and then mounted it at the base and rode off to Gwalior. But as so often happens, the falsity has imposed itself over the truly magnificent feat of this great woman—which was to cover 100 miles in 24 hrs with a little baby on horseback. So let’s stop talking about the 15-metre wall, and talk about that instead.
Lieutenant Col Ashok Ahlawat, Itarsi
Your leader comment (April 4) hits the nail on the head. The danger, in fact, is two-sided. It swells the vanity of the flattered to the extent of stupidity and reduces the sycophant to nothing. Indira Gandhi’s downfall started the day Dev Kant Barooah said, “Indira is India, India is Indira.” Sycophancy undermines no one more than the ruler who loses touch with the reality and therefore fails to see the rising ire among the masses.
J.N. Bhartiya, Hyderabad
An expert in sycophancy and the traditions of personality cult, urban development minister and former BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu must have felt he was on familiar terrain at the BJP national executive meet when he proclaimed PM Modi to be “god’s gift to India”. And why not? In Naidu’s eyes, 18 million Twitter followers and ranking in Time magazine’s list of ‘100 most influential persons’ are proof enough of Modi being a ‘messiah of the poor’. Every party ultimately ends up creating its own D.K. Barooah.
J. Akshobhya, Mysore
Most People Are No Longer Shocked By Strikes Such As The One In Brussels (Arma Et Mortum Que Cano, April 4) Because Of The Impunity With Which Terrorists Manage To Carry Them Out. Religious TerroRism Can Only Be Blamed On Preachers Who Target Minds Into Imagining Great Civilisational Horrors And Into Believing These Must Be Avenged With Random Acts Of Extreme Violence. The Sad Reality Is That Countries Scarred By Terror Attacks Haven’t Yet United To Work Out A Common Strategy To Combat The Menace.
Mahesh Kumar, On E-Mail
The Paris And Brussels Attacks Confirm What Was Already Suspected But Not Acted On—That Its Muslim Citizens Are Travelling To Syria And Are Returning As Radicalised Soldiers. A Few People Is All It Takes To Disrupt A Great City; But The Threat To Europe Will Not Go Away With The Arrest Of A Few Radicals. The Scourge Of Terror Must Be Eliminated Root And Branch—Easier Said Than Done.
Meghana A, Nsw, Shell Cove
To UndErstand Terror, Look At What Is Happening In Europe: Large Groups Of Muslims Live In Poverty Or On Government Handouts In Ghettos (Or Casbahs) And As A Coping Mechanism Lapse Into Identity-Based Politics Around Islam. They Consider The Western World Decadent. Europeans Are Only Now Waking Up To The Reality Of Cities Destroyed By Terror Attacks.
Lalit Bagai, Kalundborg